How to Combat the SEND NUDES Trend

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How to Combat the SEND NUDES Trend

written by David SmithJanuary 11, 2017
send nudes problem

Spilled potato chips. A freshly baked pepperoni pizza. Some wiggly Chinese noodles. Are these the cravings of a pregnant woman? Nope. They’re just a few images young people are using to ask one another for nude photos. And these requests contain absolutely no subtlety!

Excuse Me, I’d Like a Naked Picture of You

While scrolling through your Facebook feed lately, you may have noticed a video or picture with the message SEND NUDES. It might be a picture of foods, clouds in the sky, or even a note spelled out in Christmas lights. Regardless of the format, the message is always the same: SEND NUDES.

According to the website Know Your Meme, SEND NUDES is “an expression used to request sexually explicit photographs from someone via various forms of communication, including web based services and text message.” The site also gives a brief history of how the phrase entered our culture’s language.

If you haven’t seen any of these creative requests, here are some samples from The Chive. (These graphics don’t contain any nudity.) The site offers the following advice to help (mostly) guys score naked pics of female friends: “It’s no secret now that the more creative you get when asking for nudes, the higher your chances are of actually receiving them. Intense research has also shown that if you can include some laughs with your requests, your creepy factor will go down and return photos will go up.”

College Humor offers this list of 11 “best” SEND NUDES requests. The tag line? “Rumor has it, these 11 people are still receiving nudes from these top notch requests.”

Thanks to this colorful and brazen social media campaign, the SEND NUDES phrase is growing in popularity. You can buy cell phone cases with the phrase, and if you type “send nudes” on Amazon’s homepage, you can purchase everything from hats and shirts to winter gear—all with SEND NUDES emblazoned across the front. Recognizing the massive appeal of the message, Kim Kardashian sold her own SEND NUDES merch this holiday season. Clearly sex still sells…literally.

Silly or Serious?

Undoubtedly, many young people will dismiss this trend as just a joke. “I wasn’t really asking for naked pictures; I just thought the video was fun to send.” Granted, some of the creative videos and photos might make kids chuckle, but it’s no laughing matter when young people’s lives are ruined by sharing or receiving nude photos.

Parents and youth workers must help shape a generation that often defines itself by other people’s reactions to their images. Here are some practical suggestions.

  1. Monitor social media. Sexting has been a youth culture reality for more than a decade. But sharing racy pics is no longer restricted to just text messaging. Snapchat built its empire on the (empty) promise that images sent to friends were completely temporary, causing nude photos to increase faster than the national debt. And when Instagram added its “Direct” service, many people rightfully believed it would encourage users—young and old—to send naked photos. Caring adults need to pay as much attention to kids’ social media apps as they do to their text messages and web-browsing history. (Here are a few tips from BeWebSmart.com for doing that with Instagram.)
  2. Keep having conversations. Of course, the best way to deal with this problem is to avoid sending nude photos in the first place. For that, maintain ongoing dialogue with kids about the potential disasters that can result from sharing nude photos. When you read an eye-opening article about Snapchat, share it with teenagers and ask for their insights. Listen to what they have to say. (On his blog, Jonathan McKee recently provided a helpful video and discussion questions about cell phones). You might think the 27 talks you’ve already had on the subject were great—and they might have been! But it takes only one lapse in judgment to undo all your hard work. Talk. Listen. Repeat.
  3. Combat the normalcy of overt and public sexuality. From sexting and magazine covers to racy billboards and the explosion of online pornography, our culture is enamored with sexuality. The SEND NUDES trend is just the latest expression. Granted, the phenomenon will probably disappear like a Snapchat photo of Aunt Ethel asleep on the couch at Thanksgiving. But something similar will soon take its place; after all, our culture salivates for all things sexual. Make sure young people have a biblical understanding of sex, as well as responsible habits for relationships and dating. Helpful resources include Sex Matters by Jonathan McKee and Pure Sex from Group Publishing.

Teenagers don’t have to lose their minds (and more) just because millions of other kids are. Ultimately, the more seriously you treat the SEND NUDES trend, the less silly your kids will look.

This article was originally published by our friends at The Source for Youth Ministry. You may find the original article here.

David, a 15-year youth ministry veteran, helps youth workers and parents through his writing, training, and speaking. David specializes in sharing the gospel and equipping others to do the same. He recently co-authored the book “Ministry By Teenagers.” On his website, DavidRSmith.org, David provides free resources to anyone who works with teenagers. He resides with his wife and son in Tampa, Florida.